METS' MINORS HITTING HOPEFULS by Tom Brennan
While the big club goes through its annual race to the boggy bottom in team hitting (only interrupted last year by a slew of trades, but otherwise this team's painful pattern continues):
IS THERE HITTING HOPE IN THE MINORS?
ANSWER: SOME RAYS OF LIGHT. LET'S TAKE A PEEK:
Travis Taijeron - hitting nearly .300 in Vegas with nearly an amazing 60 extra base hits and 80 RBIs.
- COUNTERPOINT: strikeout machine supreme, with 134 in slightly over 100 games. Against big league pitching, what does THAT translate to? Not pretty.
TJ Rivera - ,344/.388/.498, with 74 RBIs in 94 Vegas games. Possible league MVP.
- COUNTERPOINT: he is in Vegas fairy dust land producing those #s. He also clearly has a harder glass ceiling than Hillary Clinton, otherwise he'd already be up here. In biblical terms, he is the Passover.
Kevin Plawecki - he has hit .325 in Las Vegas, getting well-needed additional hitting time before resurfacing in the majors.
- COUNTERPOINT: Hitting .325 in Vegas is no assurance of future success. But it is hopeful.
Amed Rosario - hitting nearly ,330, and even better in AA since his promotion. 19 doubles and an exciting 12 triples. Run Amed Run…shades of Jose Reyes in the 3B Dept.
- COUNTERPOINT: Only 3 homers this year for the 20 year old. Still, he could be the Mets' starting SS by midseason 2017 if he keeps this up. Everyone thinks he's big time good.
Dominic Smith - he has started a late season AA surge, going 39 for 108 with decent power since the start of July, to raise him to .294.
- COUNTERPOINT: 12 homers are a distinct improvement, but he is still far below league leaders. Still maybe when he turns 22 next June, he will be knocking on a big league starting 1B door. To my knowledge, he has never had a stress fracture in his back, so that's a Mets' infielder plus.
Phil Evans - after a frigid start in St Lucie he got promoted to AA and the 23 year old IF has hit .295 in 70 games since.
- COUNTERPOINT: first time he has ever hit well for Mets' minors - if he can sustain it, he could be the next Matt Reynolds, which seems to be a low ceiling. Low power, too.
Kevin Kacsmarski - OF drafted just last year, he is tearing it up in St Lucie since his promotion there, with good speed and low strikeout rates - .360+ since his promo.
- COUNTERPOINT: already 24, and only 2 homers this year. Yet his overall production reminds me of Brandon Nimmo.
David Thompson - 3B also just drafted last year, he has a gaudy 72 RBIs in 89 games between Columbia and St Lucie and hitting in the mid-.280's.
- COUNTERPOINT: his slugging % is only around .450, but we'll get a better read on him next year against higher competition. Possible future Mets 3B in 2018.
ROOKIE A BALL:
Peter Alonso - 1B - this year's power draftee is already lighting up Brooklyn: 26 games, .304/.377/.548.
- COUNTERPOINT: it's only Brooklyn. Cory Vaughn did well in Brooklyn, so success there needs a dose of tempered enthusiasm.
Desmond Lindsay - OF the 19 year old stud high draftee is doing very well in the minors in 2016.
- COUNTERPOINT: he missed a ton of time this year, has hardly played. 2017 in a full season league, please.
Andress Giminez - SS the 17 year old bonus baby is crushing it in the DSL, and hardly striking out.
- COUNTERPOINT: the DSL is slightly above good high school competition, so let's see what he does as an 18 year old in the states. My guess, though? He is going to be the next Amed Rosario, but with more power. Which is a great thing.
That's my recap - there is some hope down under for starving Mets' fans. Unclear how much and how soon, though. Amed and Dominic are the bright lights, and the rest right now are still question marks.